It provided a practical guide for outdoor activities such as: camping, hiking, woodcraft, swimming, backpacking and sports. In an effort to eliminate some of the social differences that existed between upper and lower class young men, a distinctive uniform with neckerchief, campaign hat, insignia and merit badges identified each scout as a member of equal status in the troop.
Too bad Baden-Powell didn’t write a manual and guidelines for adults in command of his troops. Instead of a field manual for appropriate behavior between scout and Scoutmaster, the organization started what they call ‘perversion files’ documenting and identifying pedophiles, child abuse complaints, rape and molestation within their organization over the past 100 years.
Thanks to a civil suit filed in Portland, Ore. against the Boy Scouts, charging one of its field workers with child abuse, records of a secret ‘perversion file’ was submitted as evidence by the victim’s attorney. The 14,500 pages reveal not only the names of accused sex offenders but highlighted police cooperation with the organization to keep everything secret.
According to reports, in 1961, two men in Kansas admitted they molested scouts under their supervision. No charges against them were filed. The same two men also had affiliations with the YMCA, which have had its own problems.
In 1965, a mother reported a Scoutmaster raped one of her sons and molested two others. Six days later, in the same Louisiana Sheriff’s Office, the accused man confessed to his crimes. Charges were never filed against him to “save the name of scouting.”
Administrators of the Boy Scouts should keep their own pledge: “On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.”
Besides the pledge, Scouts make three promises: Duty to help other people by lending a helping hand. Duty to self by living a clean life. And Duty to God and country that states; “Your family and religious leaders teach you to know and serve God. By following these teachings, you do your duty to God.
In all fairness, The Boy Scouts of America does fill a much needed gap between boyhood and manhood. I’m sure the group has learned its lesson and will continue to serve our community with dignity respect and honor. Hopefully, the Catholic Church will follow that example and clean up its act.
I have always wondered why grown men in the position of mentoring young men in the name of God, abuse children and violate the very principles of their faith, purpose and vows? I will never understand why their God allows it to happen under the umbrella of perversion.
David Farside is a Sparks resident and political activist.